Do I need planning permission?

A com­mon ques­tion put to us by our cus­tomers, whether they’re hav­ing their front door repaired, a new patio door installed, or they’re chang­ing the type of garage door they have, is do I need plan­ning permission?

Here at Evan­der, we under­stand that this can be a con­cern when mak­ing improve­ments and changes to your home, but in the major­i­ty of cas­es, no plan­ning per­mis­sion is need­ed. How­ev­er, this does not mean that you shouldn’t check first, as the loca­tion of your home, the age of your home and what works you’re hav­ing com­plet­ed can all have a bear­ing on whether a plan­ning appli­ca­tion is required, or if you’re even allowed to com­plete the improve­ments at all.

In some cas­es, the rules are dif­fer­ent if you live in Wales, Scot­land or North­ern Ire­land, so it’s always ben­e­fi­cial to check with your local plan­ning author­i­ty. In Scot­land, this con­sists of one plan­ning author­i­ty, but in Eng­land, Wales and North­ern Ire­land, your local plan­ning author­i­ty is like­ly to be your district/​borough coun­cil or a Nation­al Park author­i­ty, depend­ing on exact­ly where you live.

For Eng­land and Wales, you can use the government’s Plan­ning Por­tal to find infor­ma­tion and to man­age any plan­ning per­mis­sion you may need. Welsh users will need to select their coun­try from the top menu. In Scot­land, you can use the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment web­site. In North­ern Ire­land, you can use the North­ern Ire­land Plan­ning Por­tal web­site. Any plan­ning infor­ma­tion con­tained with­in this arti­cle is based on infor­ma­tion from Plan­ning Por­tal England.

What is plan­ning permission?

Plan­ning per­mis­sion has been around since 1st July 1948. Since this date, it’s been nec­es­sary for any new devel­op­ments to have the prop­er per­mis­sions and meet cer­tain cri­te­ria in order to be law­ful. This means that you can­not build what­ev­er you like on your land or change the use of a build­ing (for exam­ple, from a res­i­den­tial home to busi­ness premis­es) with­out gain­ing approval from your local author­i­ty first.

Your local author­i­ty takes many dif­fer­ent things into account when look­ing at a plan­ning pro­pos­al and will often approve plan­ning appli­ca­tions on the basis that cer­tain con­di­tions are met. For exam­ple, your prop­er­ty may be sit­u­at­ed in an impor­tant area for bats, so you may be required to incor­po­rate a bat box into the build­ing if it is going to be above a cer­tain height. The look of your devel­op­ment may have to stay in keep­ing with oth­er prop­er­ties in the same area and you may be giv­en a time lim­it with­in which to under­take the work. Every plan­ning appli­ca­tion is looked at on a case-by-case basis, as there are so many vari­ables and pos­si­bil­i­ties — it is not a one size fits all’ rulebook.

Of course, gen­er­al upkeep, repairs and minor devel­op­ment do not require plan­ning per­mis­sion, but it’s not always clear what you can and can­not do — espe­cial­ly if your home is list­ed or sit­u­at­ed in a con­ser­va­tion area or Area of Out­stand­ing Nat­ur­al Beau­ty. Addi­tion­al­ly, many peo­ple are unaware that if you want to do work on a build­ing which is not list­ed, but resides with­in the same grounds as a list­ed build­ing, you may need spe­cial con­sent to do so.

planning permission for a conservatory

You are doing insur­ance work on my home on a like-for-like basis — do I need plan­ning permission?

Evan­der is the pre­ferred con­trac­tor for most of the top 20 home insur­ance com­pa­nies in the UK. This means that if you need to claim for repairs or replace­ments for your doors/​windows/​locks etc. under your home insur­ance pol­i­cy, it’s like­ly that Evan­der will be sent to under­take the work. When it comes to com­plet­ing repairs and replac­ing fea­tures on a like-for-like basis, plan­ning per­mis­sion is NOT need­ed. This is sim­ply con­sid­ered the upkeep of the property.

If you have suf­fered from a break-in or if dam­age has been done to your home leav­ing it inse­cure, (i.e. one or more doors/​windows will no longer lock or glaz­ing has been smashed) make sure you call your home insur­er as soon as you can. Obvi­ous­ly, it’s always best to call the police first when a crime has tak­en place. You DO NOT need to con­tact your local plan­ning author­i­ty or wait for any approval in this instance.

You’re help­ing me with my new build — how long does plan­ning per­mis­sion last for?

We fre­quent­ly install exter­nal doors, win­dows and garage doors to new-build prop­er­ties. Often, we’ll come in after most of the work has been done to help add these essen­tial fin­ish­ing touch­es, so plan­ning per­mis­sion will have already been approved for the new build­ing. If you have had a plan­ning appli­ca­tion approved, then you have 3 years (unless your doc­u­men­ta­tion states oth­er­wise) from the date it was grant­ed to begin the work.

If it has been 3 years or more and work is yet to begin, you will need to reap­ply for per­mis­sion, or alter­na­tive­ly, you may be able to apply for an exten­sion, giv­ing you more time to act.

I need to apply for plan­ning per­mis­sion — how long does it take?

If you have con­tact­ed your local author­i­ty and you’ve been told you DO need plan­ning per­mis­sion in order to com­plete the work on your prop­er­ty, then you’ll need to begin the appli­ca­tion process. This can be done online or in per­son — vis­it your local plan­ning web­site (list­ed in the intro­duc­tion of this arti­cle) to find out what you need to do.

The length of time it takes to process plan­ning appli­ca­tions can vary depend­ing on where you’re based and how many plan­ning appli­ca­tions your local author­i­ty cur­rent­ly has in the pipeline. How­ev­er, 8 weeks is the usu­al lim­it and it shouldn’t take longer than this.

Do I need plan­ning per­mis­sion for doors and windows?

When it comes to hav­ing work done on your (exter­nal) doors and win­dows, you do not usu­al­ly need plan­ning per­mis­sion for repairs, main­te­nance, like-for-like replace­ments, or replace­ments which are made from a dif­fer­ent mate­r­i­al but sim­i­lar in appear­ance to the orig­i­nal doors/​windows.

For instance, a home­own­er who has white uPVC win­dows at present may want to replace them with a more

uPVC Bay Win­dow envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly and hard-wear­ing mate­r­i­al. The home­own­er could have alu­mini­um-framed win­dows installed in the same colour and not have to obtain plan­ning per­mis­sion as the win­dows would essen­tial­ly look the same. In many cas­es, a dif­fer­ent colour of win­dow frame would not need plan­ning per­mis­sion either, but this could depend on the rules in your area, so you may want to check first.

In rare cas­es, plan­ning per­mis­sion may be need­ed when replac­ing doors and win­dows. This may be because the prop­er­ty in ques­tion is a list­ed build­ing or because the prop­er­ty is locat­ed in a con­ser­va­tion area or with­in an Area of Out­stand­ing Nat­ur­al Beau­ty. If you are unsure, or if you know your home falls into one of these cat­e­gories, it’s best to check with your local plan­ning author­i­ty. You may find that noth­ing needs to be done at all, but it’s always bet­ter to be safe than sor­ry, as break­ing plan­ning law can come with a hefty fine. What’s more, you’ll need to reverse all of the work that’s already been done.

Please note: If you’re hav­ing a new bay win­dow installed (to replace a pre­vi­ous­ly flat’ win­dow) this is treat­ed as an exten­sion’ by many local author­i­ties and you are like­ly to need plan­ning per­mis­sion to do this legal­ly. If you are replac­ing an exist­ing bay win­dow with a new one you do not need to apply for plan­ning permission.

conservatory with planning permission

Do I need plan­ning per­mis­sion for a conservatory?

Usu­al­ly, con­ser­va­to­ries do not need plan­ning per­mis­sion as long as they stay with­in cer­tain guide­lines. A list of the var­i­ous con­di­tions you need to meet to ensure it does not require a plan­ning appli­ca­tion can be found on the Plan­ning Por­tal con­ser­va­to­ry page. Here at Evan­der, we do not build new con­ser­va­to­ries, but we can repair them and we can also con­vert them into more use­able rooms by adding a sol­id roof.

Many home­own­ers are find­ing that their con­ser­va­to­ry is only real­ly use­able for half of the year, as the glazed roof can make it extreme­ly hot in the sum­mer and chilly in the win­ter. Adding a sol­id roof helps to reg­u­late the tem­per­a­ture inside, allow­ing the space to be used all year round.

In the past, a cer­tain per­cent­age of con­ser­va­to­ry roofs had to be glazed for them to be exempt from plan­ning per­mis­sion, but changes have been made to the rules sur­round­ing this in recent years. If you live on what plan­ning author­i­ties call des­ig­nat­ed land’ — which includes nation­al parks, the Nor­folk Broads, Areas of Out­stand­ing Nat­ur­al Beau­ty, con­ser­va­tion areas and World Her­itage Sites — then you may need per­mis­sion to add a sol­id roof to your con­ser­va­to­ry. In some areas, this may not be per­mit­ted at all, so it’s impor­tant that you check before tak­ing any fur­ther steps.

Do I need plan­ning per­mis­sion for a porch?

Whether you want to add a full porch to your prop­er­ty or you sim­ply want a door canopy to keep off the rain, plan­ning per­mis­sion is not usu­al­ly required. If you want to build a full porch (where a small area at the front of your home becomes enclosed and your front door is sit­u­at­ed fur­ther out than it was orig­i­nal­ly) then there are a hand­ful of con­di­tions to meet in order for it to be exempt from requir­ing plan­ning per­mis­sion. You can view those require­ments on a handy ani­mat­ed guide in the Plan­ning Por­tal porch section.

Build­ing regulations

Whether you need plan­ning per­mis­sion or not, you’ll still need to work with­in build­ing reg­u­la­tions. Build­ing reg­u­la­tions ensure that the mate­ri­als you are using are ther­mal­ly effi­cient enough to meet ener­gy effi­cien­cy guide­lines. The best way to ensure your home improve­ments com­ply with these reg­u­la­tions is to choose a reg­is­tered installer (for glaz­ing, an installer should be reg­is­tered with FEN­SA, for exam­ple) and ensure that the actu­al prod­ucts them­selves have been built to British Stan­dards. Always avoid cow­boy builders if you can and do your research before enlist­ing any­one to do work on your home.

If you’d like to dis­cuss any con­cerns about plan­ning per­mis­sion or build­ing reg­u­la­tions, or if you have any ques­tions, please let us know when reg­is­ter­ing your inter­est in any of our prod­ucts and ser­vices. Alter­na­tive­ly, you’re wel­come to call 0345 145 0130 or use the below con­tact form at any time.

Please note: This arti­cle is not meant to be tak­en as legal advice. If you are unsure about whether you require plan­ning per­mis­sion, please check with your local author­i­ty in the first instance. It is the homeowner’s respon­si­bil­i­ty to ensure all plan­ning require­ments are met before work commences.

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